The Art of the Open Letter – How to Write an Open Letter


Letter writing is an art form, and whoever disagrees never had to write one or doesn’t know how to appreciate a beautifully crafted letter.

The letter writing service, is also a dying art form. Due to the prevalence of the email and instant messaging apps, our messages can reach their destination instantly. Since communication can happen in real-time, we don’t spend that much time choosing our words and crafting our sentences, let alone picking a business envelope and posting a letter to a physical address.

But, there is one instance where you need to pay close attention to how you deliver your message. We’re talking about the open letter. Ensure you keep these criteria in mind throughout your letter, from letter openings to letter closings, and see your message being delivered satisfactorily.

What Is an Open Letter, After all?

Well, people who are annoyed by open letters might describe them as “that chain mail your activist friend creates whenever he is upset about something.”  True, Merriam-Webster defines an open letter as a “letter of protest or appeal,” addressed to an individual but meant to be read by the general public.

Yes, some people find them annoying; others consider them to be spam. But, the majority of internet users see them as a medium to express their opinions on the things that matter to them and build awareness around a certain problem. Open letters are also an excellent way to draw the attention of officials or institutions with which you might not be able to communicate otherwise.

How to write an open letter

how to write an open letter

So, you need to make sure that the open letter you write is powerful and engaging enough to get people hooked. But before that, we need to get something out of the way.

1) Efficiency Is Debatable

Efficiency is debatable; it doesn’t have much to do with your abilities as a content writer. An open letter is meant to change something or draw attention to something. It’s one of the many channels online activists have regularly adopted into their strategy.  But if your goal is to change something, an open letter should be a part of your strategy and not the strategy itself.

Still, this should not discourage you from writing open letters. When combined with an ingenious marketing campaign, they can get an impressive exposure.

With that in mind, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind when writing open letters.

2) Establish Relevance

It might seem like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people write open letters without knowing their audience.

You may be concerned about global warming and want to raise awareness about it, but others might care about different issues. That is the problem when you send an open letter to an audience you don’t know.

Read Also: 7 Marketing Tips That Helps To Built Recognition Of Your Brand

Research your audience and learn about the things they care about and interest them. Use this information to craft a letter that appeals to their emotions. They might not take global warming seriously, but your audience might care about creating a better world for their children.

People tend to be a more responsive if they feel the issue is directly related to them or someone they know. Make the problem relevant to them, and you’ll get better results.

3) Be Concise

People don’t read on the internet; they skim. If your letter is longer than a Tolstoy novel or if the platform you’re using disrupts their experience with ads and pop-ups, then they might not read your letter at all.

Try to be as short and precise as possible. Use subheads, bullet points, and lists to highlight important information. Add links to articles and data that supports your arguments. Be smart about how you format the text, as any stylization is sure to catch the attention of your audience. Also, don’t go into a lot of details. Your letter should make them aware there’s a problem; it doesn’t have to provide all the information about it.

4) Offer Solutions

One of the reasons some internet users see open letters as an excuse to complain about everything is that most people don’t offer any solutions. A letter about the level of pollution in your city is important for people to read, but if you don’t add a call to action or a tip on how to make it better, those who read the letter might perceive you as just another whiny person on the internet.

Open Letter Example

An Open Letter to Hobbyists by Bill Gates

Image Source: Flicker

Open letter Sample to Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins

Image Source: Flickr


Yes, you can use open letters. Just remember, you are writing both for an audience and for a certain cause. Gloomy letters about how the world is coming to an end are passé, and people do not respond to them. Try to offer even a glimpse of hope and encourage your recipients to take action.


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